Monday, November 26, 2012

That was a long favor!!

I spent quite some time today doing a favor for a fellow member of staff. Mr T has his workbooks that his students go through in PDF format, which he prints out as a booklet for them to fill in. He was not convinced of the way Google docs was going to work for him, as they have to fill in activities in the workbooks, and the conversation has been going various directions for a while now.
I offered to make one of his booklets a Google doc for him to see what it would be like, so he sent along the PDF.
Just straight uploading to google drive was no good, as it was pretty to look at but not able to be written in.
I had both my Google doc and the pdf open side by side, and was copying and pasting a section at a time. This was not the easy job that it sounds as all the lovely formatting in the pdf disappears as it is copied over. It was called a variety of interesting names today as I had to reformat the whole lot to make it look like the original. The original booklet also had lots of nice pictures in it, so the "shift, command, 4" got used a lot on my mac today, to take some nice sectional screen shots.
Two and a half periods later, it was finished. This is just one standard!!!
When I shared it back to Mr T, I made sure he remembered that I like mint chocolate :D

Dear Google, please make it easier to load up PDF documents to Google drive so they are editable!!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Google Plus at School

Google plus has not previously been available in schools. When we got the word through that it was now there to turn on if we wanted it, some thought had to go into it. We have had lots of staff discussion regarding Facebook, so is this just going to be another one to worry about? It was decided to   turn it on for the staff and not the students at the moment, so we can have a play, get out heads round it and then have a more informed chat about access for students into the new year. Is it going to be a good communication method with individual classes that we can put in "circles" or will it be a great place to waste time? Personally, I am interested in Google events on Google Plus, as a place to do group research on topics and share everyone's input.
We shall see.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Film Festival 2012

We have just had the 5th anual Manaiakalani Film Festival yesterday. This event has got bigger and bigger every year, with over 50 videos being submitted this year from the 9 schools in the cluster.
The event was held at Hoyts Cinemas at Sylvia Park in Auckland. My first job of the morning was to take 12 classroom chairs ( for presenters to sit on ) and our school display board up to the cinema. I managed to convince Matt that he REALLY wanted to help ( !! ), so we got everything up there in the school van.  I had made a 6 foot version of the poster shown here, so it was a simple matter this year of pinning this to our display board.

While we were there in the morning, it was really quiet as it was before the cinema was open, so we took advantage !!
One of the big film displays was for the new James Bond film to come out.
So check out double oh two and a bit....

The show kicked off at 9.30 to a packed house of junior and intermediate students, who were all very excited to be there. Our Tamaki College students were not due to present until the 3rd show, so I went and picked them up from school at 11.30. To keep them happy and full for the rest of the day, we had a little stop over for burgers on our way in..

We had 3 lots of presenters this year, as we had videos from 2 dance groups and 4 videos from the media studies class. This was the biggest year for Tamaki College at the festival. ( I have already started planting seeds to a few staff members for next year !! )
Our year 9 and 10 arrived for the fourth showing. They had come from school on 2 trains after walking to the train station. As they were arriving through the shopping centre, you could hear a wall of sound on its way. TC was in the house!!!
The presenters were extra nervous for this show, as it was in front of all their friends, but it went well.

For the evening presentation, I picked the students up from school at 5.30 and we were off again. As we got there nice and early, it was ice creams all round. ( We were at the cinema !! )
Mr Telefoni. the head of music, had organised a band to play for all the guests arriving at the evening show.
My presenters were dressed in their Azonto outfits ready for being the 3rd to go, and they were loving the attention they were getting as the audience were coming in and seeing them.
They all presented really well on the day, and all the Tamaki College videos went down really well with the audiences of the 3 showings we were involved in.

Check out the Tamaki College videos on TCTV on THIS LINK.
Check out the videos from the whole cluster on the Manaiakalani Site on THIS LINK.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Making the Cyber Safety Site

I was given the task recently of creating a Cyber Safety Google site for the students to use at school. It wasn't until I got really into it that I realised what a big job it could turn out to be. I am having new ideas and finding new resources all the time while I am busy on the site. There is loads of stuff out there, I have just been collating it all together into one handy little place for the students to access. I have also been trying to write "modules" for the students to work through for different topics. I have been writing these in the form of Google forms embedded on the site itself. All the answers from the students will come to me in a spreadsheet where it will be a simple job of sorting by tutor class and forwarding the answers onto the individual tutors.
My original working title for the site was "Scooby Says". I got this idea from the noise made by students a lot of the time when they are asked a question! We all know what teenagers are like at making grunt answers! When it was time to go live with the site, we decided that we better not use the name of a famous cartoon without permission, so the name Digital Footprints was put in place instead. I am pleased that the original Scooby name has remained in the url though.

If you want to check out the site, the link is here. Please remember that it is still definitely a work in progress.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Posting away the external work to be marked...

It's that time of year again when I mutter curses at anyone offering to help me sort out the senior work to send away for external marking. ( The help is offered very generously, but I know what I'm like. I have a way I like to do things and I will be extra grumpy if someone doesn't do it that way!!)
What has been trickier this year for the Level 3 students especially, is that their research, analysis and design development are all on their Google docs and not in their books. With Level 3, the whole project has to go, not just the elements that are being externally marked, so a quick rush round to print off their work was in order, so the project was a complete bundle, not just the drawings and notes in their sketch books.
With Level 1 and 2, I sent the drawing elements that were needed for external marking, and left the research, development, notes etc online. I will only print off the individual students work called for moderation in the new year. This means that I have to set myself some time aside to move the students online work from the teacher dashboard, and copy it into my Google docs. (note to self for next year - start this process earlier!! )
I cannot wait for the day when NCEA come into the 21st century and I can just send them a link to the students work sitting pretty online. It will save them a load on parcel post!!
My plan for next year, is that each senior student will have a Design and Visual Communication Google site of their own where they will put all of their work, instead of on individual documents.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Loving ToonDoo

I was recently introduced to Toondoo by Nolene at work. It was one of those things that you have a little go of when you are first introduced, and think...hmmm...ok.
Then I started giving it a proper go when I was after some more interesting graphics for the cyber safety site I am putting together. It is a really good online activity that has all sorts of uses, from the simple ideas that I made for the top of some of may pages, to getting across a point, to asking questions on a page in a visual way. ( being a Graphics teacher, I am always a fan of finding the visual way :D )
Here is where I used one of the headers I made, for my Graphics Google site.
I can't put up a link to the Cyber safety site yet as it is not open yet... ( work in progress !! ), but here is one of the toons I made for that site.

Toodoo gives you the option to embed your toon from their site or download it to your computer.
It also gives the embed code for this little widget here, showing all the toons you have made.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Quick Google search reference

This is quick but useful !!
This is also my first blog post done on my phone as I found this image while browsing on Facebook and "borrowed" it.

Interesting Google Drive Facts

Some interesting Googly facts about drive.
Thanks to Google for the original post here.

Johnny had to appear somewhere :D

I am busy at the moment working on a Cyber Smart site for the school. It is shaping up to be full of information and tips for the students to use and a set of modules for them to work through at the end.
Last night, I was working on the legal page and it was getting a bit "dry". While looking online for a suitable image to spice up the top to get the students attention, an idea occurred to me.

Here is the image that I put together on Photoshop. I knew I would get him in there somewhere :D